Broadway's James Joyce's The Dead Will Close April 16

News   Broadway's James Joyce's The Dead Will Close April 16 The musical, James Joyce's The Dead, which went from a sold-out run at Off-Broadway's Playwrights Horizons to a limited run at the Belasco Theatre on Broadway to an open run at the same house, will close on April 16, after 112 performances and 32 previews.
Stephen Spinella, Alice Ripley, Emily Skinner and John Kelly in The Dead.
Stephen Spinella, Alice Ripley, Emily Skinner and John Kelly in The Dead. (Photo by Photo by Joan Marcus)

The musical, James Joyce's The Dead, which went from a sold-out run at Off-Broadway's Playwrights Horizons to a limited run at the Belasco Theatre on Broadway to an open run at the same house, will close on April 16, after 112 performances and 32 previews.

The musical recently won a Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical for its Off-Broadway incarnation in fall 1999. Gregory Mosher and Arielle Tepper moved the company - including stars Christopher Walken and Blair Brown -- to the Belasco, where it opened Jan. 11. Mosher told The New York Times a national tour is being mulled.

Walken began a vacation April 2 that was to last to April 23, which means the film star ("The Deer Hunter") will not be walking among The Dead before it closes.

Drawing on the famous short story, "The Dead," by Joyce, librettist director Richard Nelson and composer Shaun Davey created an intimate musical drama of detail, which some critics embraced as an antidote to brassier pop fare on Broadway.

For much of the show, the songs presented are presentational: Sung as party songs at an Irish Christmas gathering. Nelson and Davey used poetry fragments, music hall songs, chunks of Joyce's text and original lyrics and music for the patchwork score. Stephen Bogardus stepped in for the vacationing Walken April 4. He plays the Irish narrator and husband, Gabriel Conroy, husband to Gretta, played by Faith Prince (who replaced Blair Brown, now of Broadway's Copenhagen). Gretta's memory of a dead love is stirred at the yule party, exposing an emotional chasm between the husband and wife.

James Joyce's The Dead is directed with such attention to detail and such intimacy that there is a buzz in the theatre community that the well-respected Nelson (whose directing career is just dawning) could steal a Tony Award from the directors of splashier shows this season. Nelson is best known as playwright of Two Shakespearean Actors, Goodnight Children Everywhere, Some Americans Abroad and New England.

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Following several company cast changes, the troupe now includes Donna Lynn Champlin, Angela Christian, Paddy Croft, Daisy Eagan, Dashiell Eaves, Sally Ann Howes, John Kelly, Marni Nixon, Alice Ripley, Rex Robbins and Stephen Spinella.

Sean Curran is choreographer. Charles Prince is musical director. Designers are David Jenkins (scenic), Jane Greenwood (costumes), Jennifer Tipton (lighting) and Scott Lehrer (sound).

Tickets are $25-$75. For information, call (212) 239-6200.